New Perspectives: Tiny Trilliums – by Rev. Heather McCarrel

Photo by David M. Chambers/Unsplash

These past few days the trilliums have begun to take over the hillsides and sunny patches along the forest floor and beside the park trails.  These beauties are the cause of bottlenecks as folks stop to snap photos or simply to enjoy their elegance.  There is one notable difference in the trilliums this year, at least where I live, although perfect in every way they are much smaller then usual.

Curious about these miniature trilliums, I did some reading on the topic and learned that the cooler winds and near freezing evening temperatures are causing a stunted growth in many spring flowers this year.  This certainly would be true in my own backyard as the north wind blows off Georgian Bay causing myself and my neighbours to don wool sweaters while out in our gardens.

As I stood in the late afternoon sun admiring the loveliness of a hillside covered in trilliums, a certain respect for their tenacity began to take hold. Despite the cold winds, duller days and near freezing rainfall these little gems doggedly took root, fought to grow as tall as possible and proudly display their best efforts at blooming. Could God be speaking to us all through these little flowers?  Is it possible that the great Creator notices the courage and determination found in a simple wildflower?

Medieval Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas asserted that God is not just a being but Being itself, “present everywhere in everything,” not just confined to a supernatural heaven above but existing even in nature. If Aquinas is to be believed, then it is possible God not only notices these tiny trilliums but is cheering them on!

Perhaps, they are the teachers, and we are the students; learning how to withstand the chilly winds of life. The lesson being: no matter what chilly breeze is blowing through our lives right now, we are to be like the trilliums and take root, stand tall and dare to show our beauty for all.  We may not always be at our best, but perhaps just the effort to grow and be present is enough.  The trilliums teach that we cannot let the chilly winds stop us from blooming exactly where we are planted.

It is a marvelous thing to belong to a God so great that even small wildflowers are used to point us in the direction of a meaningful life. May we all be wise enough to pay attention!